Pr3-Ex2: A Sketchbook of Townscape Drawings


10x10cm drawing – 4B pencil


Bishop’s Stortford cannel and tow path. Can you tell its water???


Bishop’s Stortford cannel. Behind M&S


Bishop’s Stortford cannel. Behind M&S in colour


Bishop’s Stortford Cannel and large industrial building


Bishop’s Stortford Cannel and large industrial building in colour


Bishop’s Stortford cannel – View from bridge


Bishop’s Stortford cannel – View from bridge in colour

For this ‘sketch book of townscape drawings’ exercise I Went to Bishop’s Stortford town and walked about 100 meters along the cannel. 8 or so years ago this stretch of water was a toxic green colour with beer cans and old shopping trollies lurking amidst the rest of the man made detritus. Now the trollies have been replaced with colourful barges and the bear cans by ducks and the occasional swan. The old ware houses have been replaced with attractively designed dwelling places.

I chose this location as I really wanted to have a crake at drawing water. So though I could combine both buildings and water on this location. I’m not sure I’v quite got the hang of the water. In future I must be careful not to let the surface appear as if if bulges up in the middle. Water doses not act like that. Particularly in the last soft pastel drawing the canal could be easily mistaken for a path. In some of the drawing it is unclear the tow path and the cannel are very different elements.  I would like to take some time to study water in much more detail. But this must wait for now. As ever I’m very behind with the course work.

As for the buildings. I did find the brand new apartment complex a little dull as its so straight and new, lacking character. I tried to stay aware of how the angles alter up and down the buildings. Imagining the v.p and drawing (mostly) horizontally towards it. I think I managed this ok. By far the hardest part was the balconys. They are so small and fiddle. the angles of the base of the balconies that make a trapezium are so slight. A tiny bit wrong and they look terrible. Perhaps for the next exercise I might even cheat and use a protractor just for these. although then I run the risk of the drawing becoming more like a draft than a bit of art.

The most interesting structure was.. I have no idea what it is!. It has four huge cylinders attached to a rectangular building. It looms over the cannel and echo’s the former use of the water way as a functional logistic device rather than a quaint water way. I’m happy with the quick sketches I made of this. The size and dominance of the structure in the situation is apparent.


A beginning


A beginning

I wanted to log a record of these beginnings. As with these two sometimes I find some thing gets lost as the picture grows. I love these beginnings. The texture of the chalk/ charcoal on the paper. The contrast of mark and negative space. The semi-abstract nature. The more detail added the busier the drawing become. These are clean and I find them quite peaceful. Like Japanese ink drawings less is more. Some thing I want to bare in mind and ponder as I move forwards. I’m not sure what the answer is yet. The question is how can I hold on to these clean shapes, colours and textures but also build up the image further?




About Emma Perring

Artist, oil painter


  1. Beautiful sensitive sketches Emma – love ‘the beginnings’ !

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